Dear Readers: For the past 14 years, we have done our best to advise, consult, admonish and assuage. We are writing today with tears in our eyes as we say farewell. It is time for us to step aside and take advantage of opportunities neither of us has had the time for until now. We've urged you to live your lives to the fullest. Now it's our turn.
During these years, you have taught us a great deal. So many of you suffer through physical, emotional and financial hardships. We are awed by your resilience and strength. We hope you will continue to fight the good fight. We thank you for taking us into your confidence, and will miss having you in our lives every day.
Ann Landers was our mentor. She also was a good friend, substitute mother and a great teacher. She taught us to trust our gut and to remember to be kind. We hope she would be proud. We now would like you to welcome Annie Lane, who will be writing a column called "Dear Annie." She is a young married mother of two, and we hope you will get to know her.
Before we go, we want to keep our promise to publish the winning entry for our contest to write an essay for July 4 that is patriotic, as well as inclusive. We received so many wonderful submissions, and we thank you all. And we'd like to print a short entry from a 5th grader with extremely proud parents:
"What We Fought For" by Mia Brigham
For freedom that we fought to keep
For leaders whose names mark our streets
For heroics that are set in stone
For people's names that won't go unknown
For the constitution that ended the fight
For a dark place brought into light.
And, finally, here's the winner:
"Happy Birthday, America" by Maureen Green
Our strength is not bounded by gender. Define our roles, and we will defy your expectations.
Our opportunity is not bounded by circumstance. Challenge our limits, and we will prevail.
Our freedom is not bounded by laws. Prohibit our liberties, and we will overcome oppression.
Our faith is not bounded by steeples. Demolish our churches, and we will worship in a field.
Our hope is not bounded by Lady Liberty. Destroy her, and we will raise a new beacon of light.
Our charity is not bounded by resources. Apply for our aid, and we will
sacrifice for our allies.
Our peace is not bounded by war. Attack our shores, and we will rebuild our enemy's fallen cities.
Men and women will falter. America will live forever.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.